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Punjab farmers call off protest after CM accepts key demands

After a meeting with farmer union leaders, the CM announced a fresh schedule for staggered sowing of paddy to 14 June and 17 June thus restricting the number of total zones as decided earlier from four to just two.

SNS | Chandigarh |

The Sanyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), a conglomerate of different farmers’ bodies, on Wednesday, called off their indefinite protest on Chandigarh-Mohali border after Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann conceded to most of their demands.

After a meeting with farmer union leaders, the CM announced a fresh schedule for staggered sowing of paddy to 14 June and 17 June thus restricting the number of total zones as decided earlier from four to just two.

The border belt across the fence has been excluded from the zonal restrictions and the farmers of this region have been allowed to sow paddy from 10 June. It was earlier decided to undertake paddy cultivation in a staggered manner by dividing the entire state into four zones viz with date of transplantation from 18 June to 26 June.

Chairing a meeting with the various representatives of SKM led by Jagjit Singh Dallewal, the CM asked the farmers to immediately go to paddy nursery so that paddy transplantation could be ensured within the stipulated time schedule.

Mann said the state government has already issued a notification to procure the entire crop on a minimum support price (MSP) of Rs 7275 per quintal. He also assured the farmers that the state government is in the mood of finalising modalities to procure maize too on MSP to give a boost to its ambitious programme of crop diversification.

On the issue of MSP for Basmati, the CM said he would call on the Union Home Minister Amit Shah tomorrow to impress upon the Central government to immediately announce MSP on Basmati so as to encourage the farmers to go for its cultivation in a big way by shifting from water guzzling paddy thus conserving the water.

Mann also told the members of SKM that he would also take up the contentious issue of BBMB with Shah for an expeditious resolution to the satisfaction of all stakeholders. He urged the union leaders to give him at least one year to bring farmer-friendly reforms in the agriculture sector.

“Please bear with me and I assure you that I will make your organisation free from agitations,” he said.

The CM said the doors of his office and residence are always open to resolve any issue related to farmers’ welfare with an open mind through mutual dialogue to the satisfaction of all the stakeholders. At the same time, he urged them to shun the path of agitation and if they had any grouse against the government, they should sit across the table to find an amicable solution.